RECIPE: A warm salad to enjoy during peak sunchoke season

Roasted Sunchokes with Capers and Creamy Tarragon Sauce from "Milk Street Vegetables" by Christopher Kimball (CPK Media, 2021). Photo by Connie Miller.

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Roasted Sunchokes with Capers and Creamy Tarragon Sauce from "Milk Street Vegetables" by Christopher Kimball (CPK Media, 2021). Photo by Connie Miller.

Knobby and gnarly as gingerroot, the sunchoke belongs in the “ugly food” category. Yet, the earthy, sweet and nutty flavor profile and potato-like texture of this tuber makes it fun to cook with, especially when you seek a change from routine side dishes.

ExploreIn season: Jerusalem artichokes

Also known as a Jerusalem artichoke, this member of the sunflower family is in season late fall through early spring. Urban gardeners know the fun of taking shovel to earth to dig up the tan nuggets. For the past few weeks, I’ve been delighted to find little bundles in my weekly produce delivery from local Fresh Harvest. I stockpiled until I had enough to make this terrific warm salad published in Christopher Kimball’s new “Milk Street Vegetables.”

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Sunchokes are as versatile as potatoes. They can be fried, boiled, steamed, grilled, mashed or pureed as a base for soups. The Milk Street rendition calls for roasting them with red onion slices, then tossing them with briny capers and a hit of lemon juice. Then, throw in some greens and drizzle the lot with a sour cream-based dressing flavored with tarragon and garlic.

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Before cooking or eating raw sunchokes, run cold water over them and give them a good scrub to remove any traces of dirt. You gain the energy you expend cleaning them, as the thin skin doesn’t need to be peeled.

Besides Local Harvest, look for sunchokes at some grocery stores, as well as markets with well-stocked produce aisles such as the Buford Highway and Your DeKalb farmers markets.

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Sunchokes have an earthy, sweet and nutty flavor profile and potato-like texture. They can be fried, boiled, steamed, grilled, mashed or pureed as a base for soups. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

Sunchokes have an earthy, sweet and nutty flavor profile and potato-like texture. They can be fried, boiled, steamed, grilled, mashed or pureed as a base for soups. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

Combined ShapeCaption
Sunchokes have an earthy, sweet and nutty flavor profile and potato-like texture. They can be fried, boiled, steamed, grilled, mashed or pureed as a base for soups. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

Roasted Sunchokes with Capers and Creamy Tarragon Sauce
  • 2 pounds sunchokes, scrubbed but not peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • ⅓ cup sour cream or plain whole-milk yogurt
  • ¼ cup lightly packed finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely grated
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice, divided
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 2 ounces (about 4 cups lightly packed) watercress, baby arugula or pea shoots
  • Heat the oven to 450 degrees with a rack in the lowest position.
  • In a large bowl, toss together the sunchokes, onion, oil and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Distribute in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet; reserve the bowl. Roast, stirring once halfway through, until the vegetables are browned and a skewer inserted into the sunchokes meets no resistance, 25 to 35 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, tarragon, garlic, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and ½ teaspoon pepper. Taste and season with salt.
  • When the vegetables are done, return them to the large bowl. Add the capers and the remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice; toss to combine, then let stand about 10 minutes. Toss in the greens. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with the sour cream mixture. Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 323 calories (percent of calories from fat, 36), 6 grams protein, 48 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 14 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), 9 milligrams cholesterol, 129 milligrams sodium.

Excerpted from “Milk Street Vegetables” by Christopher Kimball. Copyright © 2021 by CPK Media, LLC. Used with permission of Voracious, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

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